Like many salons, Fox and Jane had to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike most salons, however, Fox and Jane had to do it in two countries, across one province and two states. The New York City-based salon closed all eight of its salons (plus a sister brand in California and another brand in New York) on the same day—but the work to close began weeks before.
First, it was trying to stay open and keep stylists and customers safe with sanitation supplies like Lysol and hand sanitizer. Then, they reduced appointments to promote social distancing. Then, on March 17—the decision was made to close the salons.
"It was an around-the-clock job for about three weeks leading up to the closure, and then, of course, the complication of closing ten locations," CEO and co-founder Cairns said. But it wasn't the closure that was the hard part—it was laying off the staff at each location.
"It was tough," Cairns said. "It was just a tough (and a little bit emotional), but also necessary process."
It was necessary because Cairns and her team had a plan. She wanted her stylists to be able to get the unemployment benefits that they would need to weather the crisis—and she wanted them to be able to apply as soon as possible. Plus, because Fox and Jane their stylists paid time off, the salon paid that time out to the stylists as quickly as possible.
But giving her stylists an extra time and financial boost wasn't the only thing Cairns had planned—she wanted to rally Fox and Jane's loyal customer base to help keep funds heading towards her stylists. She posted on social media, creating a Save a Fox campaign to help keep funds flowing to the stylists while they were unemployed.
The Save a Fox campaign offered gear with Fox and Jane's beloved brand on it, all drop-shipped from a store. (Interested in looking into retail? Check out this blog post.)
But Cairns wasn't done—she set up a GoFundMe for her staff.
"I was hesitant around a GoFundMe, I just wasn't sure," Cairns said. "You know, it's hard to ask people for a handout. It's hard just to say, give me something for free. And as a CEO, I've never done that in my life."
Despite her initial hesitations, the GoFundMe Cairns set up has raised over $15,000 for the staff at Fox and Jane. Comments on the GoFundMe shout out donators’ favorite stylists, a way for clients to show love to their favorite staff members when they’re unable to see them.
That love extended far beyond how clients felt. Fox and Jane set up a private Facebook page for the stylists to keep in touch with each other across locations when they couldn't be together in the salon.
"Folks are just posting recipes and their dog photos just to stay connected," Cairns said.
When she looks towards the future post-coronavirus, Cairns feels confident that she'll be able to bring back the laid-off staff.
"I feel pretty confident that we're going to have a heavy return of our workforce because we're such a community," Cairns said. "What people miss most right now, beyond our normal income, our clients, and our daily lives is just the community that we all have together at Fox and Jane."